Weed Kills: Super Dark Times (2017)

I went into this movie completely expecting it to be the plot of Mean Creek on land. Well actually all i remember from Mean Creek was that Josh Peck from Drake and Josh lands a flurry of homophobic slurs and vulgar language on a bunch of kids on a canoe and ends up falling in and drowning. From that perspective, sure, this movie kind of follows that template. However, 2017’s Super Dark Time bends this plot scheme by adding its own touch of flare and twist endings.

Josh and Zach are best friends who live in upstate New York sometime in the 90s. They both share an infatuation with this girl named Allison from their school. One day they’re hanging out with their kind-of friend Daryl, a chubby kid with a foul mouth who is a total douche bag, and his 8th grade friend Charlie (why are highschoolers hanging out with a middle schooler i do not know). They go to Josh’s house and explore his brother’s room, who happens to be away at the military. They find a bag of weed which Daryl steals and a katana. Later at the park they’re cutting up cartons of milk when Daryl begins smoking Josh’s brother’s weed, thus causing Josh to freak out. The two begin fighting and eventually Daryl falls onto Josh’s brother’s katana, eventually dying. Instead of calling the police, ZACH suggests they hide the body. Charlie even helps hide the katana. After going their separate ways, Zach ends up punching a wall in anger and breaks his hand, thus needing to get a cast (its pink lol).

Zach begins having hallucinatory nightmares in which he sees Daryl’s risen corpse and a aqueous hole in his living room ceiling. He also dreams of having sex with Allison in the woods where they buried Daryl’s body, only to have Josh watching behind his back. During this time, Zach and Josh end up not talking as much due to Josh staying home from school and just acting suspicious overall. Eventually, Zach and Josh run into each other at Allison’s birthday party and things get a little weird. Josh gives Allison his brother’s weed as a gift (he doesn’t smoke) and they all smoke. Another party patron (who Josh hates) named John asks Josh if he can hook him up with some weed and he agrees. The next day, Zach learns that John fell off of a bridge and was dead. He then goes to Daryl’s burial spot and finds that the katana is MISSING!!! Eventually he barges into Allison’s friends room to find Josh has killed her friend and has slashed the back of Allison’s Neck. A fight ensues between Zach and Josh before a random stranger constrains Josh and the police are called.

Sounds like a pretty straight forward coming of age thriller right? Well for me I came out with a lot of questions. First off, the opening scene is of a dead moose that found its way into the school’s cafeteria. The cops come and they end up vacating the area and kicking the moose’s corpse. This doesn’t come back up later in the movie and it just felt like a weird throwaway scene. Secondly, how did Josh turn so evil so quickly? Like i don’t know, he kinda didn’t seem like the bad guy type in the first part of the movie. Sure his appearance gives off heavy Jeffrey Dahmer vibes, but he was the one who actually suggested they get help after Daryl dies. Its also not clear if he purposely stabbed Daryl or if the whole thing was actually an accident. I also don’t understand why Zach couldn’t kiss Allison despite having multiple clear cut chances with her actually putting her lips on his lips, yet he would always pull away. Was this a symptom of his trauma from watching his friend die? Was this his guilt not allowing him to kiss the girl he loved?

I loved the atmosphere of this movie, the whole party vibe, no parents, CD player and headphones aesthetic. It all felt very 90’s. My favorite quotes from this movie include:

-This kid looks spot on like a bagel”

-“Tomorrow marks the end of my week long fast from masturbating”

And lastly this recounted story about a conversation between Josh and his teacher

“I don’t recall you being deaf.”

“I don’t recall you being such a dumb cunt”

To close, I just want to bring to your attention that whenever a character died in this film, marijuana was involved in the scene in some way. Daryl dies after stealing and smoking Josh’s brothers weed. John dies after meeting up with Josh to buy weed. Allison’s friend Meaghan dies and Allison is slashed after they buy weed from Josh and smoke in her bedroom. I guess the real message of Super Dark Times is that weed kills and should be illegal forever! /s

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Darling (2015)

I have been marathoning through Lauren Ashley Carter’s filmography as of late. First I watched Jugface, then Pod, and now I just finished Darling and I have to say it was my favorite of the three. Lauren Ashley Carter described it herself as a slow burning Polanski-esque black and white film, which I feel perfectly sums it up. The character of Darling is such interesting as we watch her grow steadily more insane as the seconds pass. My favorite scenes involved the inverted cross necklace that she finds, seeing her eyes gleam in her dead stare at her new found treasure. Also when she stabs the Man after bringing him home I felt was really well done, the entire shift in tone which his accompanied by a shift in the music. People complain that the random and subliminal almost jump scare type cuts take away from the main plot but I thoroughly enjoyed them. Sure there is a lot to be desired from the plot, but visually i think this movie really raised the bar for director Michael Keating. All in all I truly loved this film and would give it many more views and recommendations in the future. Stream it on Netflix now!

The Gravity of Benham Falls by Jeremy Robert Johnson

Following in the same vein as The Dead Girlfriend by R.L. Stine, “The Gravity of Benham Falls” also takes place in or around a waterfall. Coming from Jeremy Robert Johnson’s short story collection Entropy in Bloom, the story deals with a woman struggling to pay her father’s hospital bills who is lured to a waterfall that happens to be the spot where her kid brother fell into when she was younger. Her plan is to seduce a certain drug dealer enough to gain his trust and eventually rob him of his drug stash in money. Unfortunately, she gets herself into a situation that is a little bit more than she can handle. Tony, the man she tries to seduce, manipulates her perfectly by faking passionate kisses that have her wrapped around his finger. He tells the origin story of Benham falls, which was originally known as Sostone Falls. In his story, Sostone Falls was named after an Indian princess of the Tolaquin tribe who threw herself into the falls as an act of protest to the relocation of her tribe. Rumor has it that you can see her face in the falls if you look up during a full moon. After people began falling into the falls and dying, the waterfall was renamed to Benham falls. Following the story, Tony begins kissing the girl while she begins to hallucinate the face of the Indian princess before waking from her hallucinatory state to Tony strangling her into a blackout. He then reveals that after finding a bracelet at the falls, the Indian princess tells him to throw women into the falls, an act which he has begun to enjoy. He also reveals that he was, unknowingly, the person who pushed her brother into the falls many years in the past. A vision of her brother Michael tells her to let go, which she does, thus pulling herself and Tony into the waterfall. As she falls she has visions of the other women who were pushed into the waterfall. She ends up landing on top of Tony and somehow surviving, pulling herself on the mossy shore and hot-wiring Tony’s car. She plans on selling Tony’s vintage Camaro and visiting her father in the hospital. The end.

I read this directly after reading The Dead Girlfriend by R.L. Stine and I couldn’t help noticing that both featured a character with a yellow striped shirt and blue jeans standing at the top of a waterfall. Was this intentional or just a coincidence? Who knows. But I enjoyed that connection. After reading so much about them, I feel a deep necessity to visit a waterfall. Maybe Ill even throw myself in!

The Dead Girlfriend by R.L. Stine

Teenage love can drive people to do some crazy things. But does it hold enough clout to lead one into MURDERING another? Horror legend R.L. Stine’s The Dead Girlfriend is a gripping tale about a high school senior named Annie who moves to a new town with her parents. The small town’s only redeeming quality is that it has a conveniently placed waterfall from which the local townspeople enjoy biking up to and staring down upon. On her first day, Annie explores the waterfall and meets this dreamy attractive boy named Jonathan who in a very shady manner with his constant mood swings and vague responses to questions. His actions give off numerous red flags that any normal self aware person would easily pick up on, but not Annie! She falls in love with him on their first date and they end up kissing and going to a party at Jon’s friend Caleb’s house. Caleb’s parents let him throw house party’s every Friday for god knows what reason where all the local high school kids go to make out on stair sets and drink beer! That part of the story always amazed me because when I was in high school i never went to parties like that but maybe that’s just a testament to how lame I was as a high school kid. Anyways, the kids end up going to a batting cage (weird choice) to hangout after the party and Caleb acts like a madman by climbing up the wires of the cage and daring Jonathan to join him. Caleb acts like a fucking jackass throughout the whole book and his girlfriend Dawn always comments but never acts upon her desires to break up with him. Anyways, Jon gets pissed when Caleb mocks him for being a pussy. This party marks the first appearance of Annie’s only friend throughout the book, Dawn. While everyone tries to tip toe around certain events that happened in the past, with people suggesting to Annie that she be careful around Jonathan, claiming he is dangerous, Dawn drops all the info Annie needs to create her own assumptions of the past. Dawn reveals that Jonathan’s old girlfriend, Louisa, mysteriously fell off the top of the town waterfall while on a date with Jonathan. The whole town and school wonders if it was purely an accident or if Jonathan may have been involved in the death. The next day Annie realizes that Jonathan’s friend Ruby totally has the hots for Jonathan and she gets jealous. The two have a rivalry throughout the whole book that involve Annie blaming Ruby whenever certain things happen to her, such as a computer randomly deleting her research files or a computer electrocuting her into a mini coma. Theres also this random character named Ryan who is a geeky kid obsessed with Louisa who tries to warn Annie from hanging out with Jonathan. Ryan ends up forcing himself upon Annie at one point and then yelling that if she hangs out with Jonathan she will regret it. After this, he’s never seen again, not even in the ending. The book follows in this fashion with Annie freaking out and panicking over if Jonathan is a killer or just a moody hormonal boy until the end when they meet at the top of the waterfall and Annie provokes him into revealing that he KILLED her by bringing her up to the waterfall that fateful day in the past, but it was actually RUBY who pushed her in. Then Ruby miraculously shows up and says that Jonathan is a liar and that he actually pushed her in. Then Jonathan and Ruby start fighting and pushing each other and Ruby ends up falling into the waterfall before none other than DAWN shows up and reveals that SHE WAS THE KILLER ALL ALONG and she was just trying to get closer to Jonathan by dating his best friend and killing all of Jonathan’s lovers. Right as she’s about to push Annie into the falls, Jon tackles her and the police arrive, with Stine revealing that Ruby actually survived the fall with only a broken elbow and alerted the cops. The book is filled with numerous holes such as what happened to Ryan? How did Ruby get to the police so fast when she just fell five minutes ago? Isn’t Jonathan still a shitty person for pushing Ruby off of the waterfall? and Why did they introduce Louia’s sister for one scene and then never mention her again? But all that aside, this was a quick and entertaining read, and it sports a beautifully illustrated cover of Louisa with her skin decaying off her face.

Jug Face (2013)

Jug Face (2013) directed by Chad Crawford Kindle

Starring: Lauren Ashley Carter, Sean Bridgers, and Larry Fessenden

I first heard about Lauren Ashley Carter while listening to the podcast The Adventures of Danny and Mike. She was the guest and she talked about horror movies and life traveling  around Europe and she seemed very interesting. So I thought hey why not try watching one of her movies?I saw Jug Face once on Netflix or some random streaming site years ago and always thought the movie poster was terrifying. I also thought it looked like a shitty B-movie. It wasn’t until recent years that I got into enjoying B-Movies for pleasure so I never gave this movie a chance but boy was it a wild ride. Jug Face is about a backwoods community that worships a pit in the ground that is full of mud. The people in this community believe that this pit provides a healing power but requires the sacrifice of a member of their community. The movie deals with themes of incest, pregnancy, and family honor. My favorite scenes were the sacrifice of Bodey and lashing scene with Dawai and Ada. The violent imagery was well done, with great acting from all involved. The mother character was a savage monster lady that I feared. It was nice seeing scenes where Ada goes to town because it was a blatant contrast to the intense environment the forest setting provided. All in all this movie was 1 hour and 20 minutes of creepy confusion that I would’n’t suggest watching on a first date. Maybe wait until the fifth date to take your spouse to this one. But Lauren Ashley Carter was phenomenal I definitely need to check out Pod and Darling next. They’re both on Amazon Prime as well as Jug Face!!!